The recent incident wherein an advocate was shot dead by a group of youths after he objected to the parking of vehicles outside his house has brought to the fore how the residents of SAS Nagar resort to firing even on petty disputes.
Advocate Amarpreet Singh was shot dead on February 27 by a few youths after he objected to their parking of vehicles outside his gate. His cousin Gaganjot and his friend Simarjeet were injured in the firing. Police have booked nine persons, but have arrested only two accused named in the FIR, though they claim that the raids are on to nab the accused which includes a son of a Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member.
The firing incident which took place in Phase 3A was the second such incident reported in SAS Nagar. On August 23, Jatinderjit Singh, a resident of Phase 6, fired two gunshots and burst the tyres of his neighbour's car parked outside his house. He was arrested by the police.
In SAS Nagar district, there are 5,393 arms licence holders. The weapons owned by the residents include 12 bore gun, pistols and revolvers all for self-defence.
According to the data available, majority of licences are in the name of men, while only about 100 licences have been issued in the name of women.
The police in 2012 had registered about 23 cases under the Arms Act as against 14 cases registered in 2011.
The police have recommended the cancellation of firearms licences of around 380 holders in the district, including about 50 recommendations for cancellation of licences made in 2013.
Sources said most recommendations for cancellation of arms licences included those who had failed to get their new residential addresses updated or had misused their firearms otherwise bought for self-defence.
“All firing incidents take place on the spur of the moment. There is neither any criminal background of the people involved in most of the cases nor there has been a history of any public display of anger. In such cases and to instil sense of security among residents, the accused are arrested immediately. We also recommend cancellation of arms licences,” said Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP SAS Nagar.
“We have received a list from the SSP office recommending cancellation of arms licences. As per the act, we have issued notices to all for giving an explanation before cancellation of their licence. But only about 60 people have replied. We are expediting the process of cancellation as per the Arms Act and within a month action will be taken,” SAS Nagar deputy commissioner Varun Roojam said.
He added, “Though the new norms pertaining to issuance of arms licences are very strict, in wake of increasing incidents of misuse of weapons, we will be stricter while issuing arms licences.”
Firing incidents in the past one year
September 27: Panic spread Phase 7 after an inebriated head constable, Nissan Singh, posted as a security guard with a former MLA fired three gunshots in the air from his official weapon.
September 5: Four gunshots were fired in the Phase 5 market following a minor argument among two groups over money dispute. A resident of Madanpura village sustained minor injuries in the scuffle.
August 8: One Guriqbal Singh along with his sons Jaspreet and Iqbal Preet, residents of Phase 6, had opened fired at Tarlochan Singh who runs a taxi stand in Phase 1. All three were arrested.
August 23: Jatinderjit Singh, a resident of Phase 6, fired two gunshots and burst the tyres of his neighbour's car parked outside his house. He was arrested by the police.
August 28: Sukhpreet Singh, a resident of Phase 5 and a trustee of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), Bhaddal, was arrested by the police after he fired three gunshots in the air following an argument with his neighbours.
July 10: Prabhjeet Singh, a former member of SOPU, was attacked by a group of students belonging to a rival students' organisation at Sector 69. A bullet hit his abdomen in the brawl. All students involved in the case were arrested.
June 20: Pankaj and Jaswinder sustained minor injuries when their rivals shot at them at Sector 69.
February 7: Supporters of SOPU had a narrow escape when supporters of PUSU fired five shots near a restaurant in Phase 7 market. The gunshots missed the aim and hit two cars parked nearby. All accused were arrested.